Perceptual-motor coordination in persons with mild intellectual disability

Eli Carmeli, Tamar Bar-Yossef, Claudette Ariav, Ran Levy, Dario G. Liebermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There is limited experimental evidence to support the view that individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) have a deficit in motor control. This work is a first attempt to evaluate their motor coordination. Purpose: The study assessed the relationship between cognitive ability and sensorimotor integration. The clinical hypothesis is that adults with ID fall below non-ID adults in motor skills that involve hand-eye coordination. Method: A group of 42 adults with ID (ID group) was compared to 48 age-matched typical adults (TA) using a mixed experimental design ('Task' as the within-subjects factor and 'Group' as the between-subjects factor). Participants performed the following tests twice: Box-and-Blocks, 25-Grooved-Pegboard, Stick Catching and overhead Beanbag-Throw. Pearson correlations and ANOVAs were used to test the hypothesis (ple;0.05). Results: As expected, TA outperformed the ID group in all tests regardless of the hand used during for the assessment. However, TA individuals scored significantly better with one hand (i.e., the preferred and dominant hand) as opposed to persons with ID, who exhibited no hand preference. Test-retest correlations among the first and second assessment scores yielded moderate-strong coefficients, depending on the type of test (Box-and-Blocks=0.92 and 0.96, 25-Grooved-Pegboard=0.69 and 0.83, Stick-Catching=0.88 and 0.94, Beanbag-Throw=0.58 and 0.91 for ID and TA, respectively). Discussion: Difficulties in the integration of perceptual information into motor action may result in inadequate solutions to daily motor problems. As it stems from our results, intellectual disability relates to inability to integrate visual inputs and hand movements. In people with mild ID such inability is observed using both hands (i.e., they show no hand preferences). Poor perceptual-motor coordination might have a functional significance in that it may lead to exclusion from vocational and recreational activities, and a decreasing competence of ADL. Assessing coordination in adults with ID may contribute to understanding the nature of the ID condition and may encourage an early rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-329
Number of pages7
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Hand preference
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Intellectual disability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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